Patch 6.2.3: Thoughts

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So this is new. I wasn’t expecting anything – so seeing news of Patch 6.2.3 had my heart leap a little. I didn’t expect any more content so what could this possibly offer?

Patch 6.2.3 tells me one thing clearly: They know players have left in droves. They know they screwed up. They know this is the shortest, and possibly worst expansion yet.

The developer’s insights section of the review says a mountain of things to me. So here’s my translated version of it all:

Cross-realm Mythic Raiding:

My biggest criticism of how Mythic raiding ultimately panned out is that it has screwed over anything less than a high population server. Difficulty? Fine. Skill? Absolutely. Time commitment? Totally fair. But the breaking point of Mythic is usually recruiting and maintaining a 20-man roster which is nigh impossible on a low population server. So guilds are either faced with the choice of real money transfers or simply staying on their server and not doing Mythic at all. Thus we are left with servers who actually see zero Mythic kills. ZERO.

In patch 6.2.3 we get:

Mythic-DI

Translation: Crap, this isn’t working out. Fixed sizes are great but in view of the dwindling population, maintaining 20-man highly skilled roster is logistically ridiculous. Quick! We need to address the population issue!

My 2 cents: Well, it may be too little too late. And it is what it is – a band-aid. It also is largely irrelevant the majority of the population who don’t do Mythic.

Return of Valor:

Valor-DI

Translation: Hey, we put in Mythic dungeons but no one is doing them. Actually….no one is doing anything at all, outside of raiding. Atleast raiders would use the rest of the week to valor cap – yes that’s it! Bring back valor and lengthen dat tradmill! Let’s expand valor to be a gearing resource to entice players to run dungeons and LFR. 

My 2 cents: I am mildly interested in this for the sole reason that I can no longer seriously raid as a healer. Yeah – I meant to write a post about that, oops. Anyways, I wondered if I would like to try out being a different class and trying raiding again without breaking my hands thanks to the role change. This would be useful if I wanted to gear up an alt and start afresh. But half of me is going meh, and the other half goes maaaaaaybe. So really, a 1% chance.

But honestly, if I’m not seriously raiding, why do I need better gear? 

Item Upgrades in Dungeons:

Items-DI

Translation: We need to give people more incentives to do the precious little content we have poured in. Give them better gear for doing dungeons – it makes it more exciting. I say, lengthen dat treadmill!

My 2 cents: Maybe they didn’t hear me the first time. IF I’M NOT RAIDING, WHY DO I NEED BETTER GEAR??

Mount:

Mount

Translation: Add mounts guys – people love mounts. And then they’ll run it more!

My 2 cents: See this is interesting because my game time coincidentally expires soon. Mounts are cool….but are they cool enough to resub for? Nope not really – especially considering that there is no new content added. Just pathways to gear and raiding, and a mount. Huh. Meh.

Final Thoughts:

They’re listening, and they know something is wrong. I’m not sure they’re on the right path to fixing it though – but these small steps may lead to bigger ones. They really need to focus on the world and story and let go of details that pertain mostly to raiding and little else. As a former raider, I get that raiding is exciting but I also now view content entirely differently. If I don’t raid anymore, what’s in it for me?

The Mythic Winds of Change

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I have been fairly quiet this last month. Someone who just wrote about a random awesome gnome machinima somehow couldn’t find the words to discuss Warcraft when a new expansion had been announced. Not a patch, not a pet, not even a raid tier – a whole new expansion.

So I decided to start at the beginning for me – which in Warcraft is heroic raiding. I am a raider and I love to raid. I don’t necessary do world or server firsts, but I still see heroic content at my own pace. It’s the main reason why I love to play.

It’s also one of the biggest changes that’s happening in Warlords of Draenor. Now, if a group wants to access the hardest content available in raiding, they have to  be a group of 20. Despite the reasons and logic behind this decision, I don’t think that the pros don’t justify the cons here.

More Mechanics for All

The biggest reasoning behind the Mythic change is raid design. It is easier to tune for a fixed raid size than have two heroic difficulties – that much has never been in question. Blizzard went a step further to to elaborate on why they thought this was the way to go. Making interesting encounters is the name of the game to keep raiders interested and to expand the kinds of encounters they can come up with, they’re taking a good long look at raid composition.

It’s fairly clear that in 10-man group, we can’t always have every class represented. My own group lacks a mage for example since we happen to have two shamans. This implies that if there were a particular fight that needed the spellsteal ability, we would be screwed.

mythic1

I understand the theory behind this. The part I don’t get is why is this a bad thing? Going back to class-specific ability requirements seems more like a step back rather than a step forward. Blizzard spent the last two expansions ensuring that groups would bring people for who they were rather than their spellbook. Burning Crusade in particular had some shamans jokingly (or sometimes not so jokingly) claim that they were simply brought for Bloodlust/Heroism. This brings us to the next question…

Bring the Class, not the Player

The devs spent the last two expansions chanting the mantra of “bring the player not the class”, going to great lengths to ensure that groups could bring their friends without constantly having to put their class abilities first. It’s one of the biggest reasons why amidst cries of homogenisation, they went ahead with the plan and so, mages got Time Warp; hunter’s got Hysteria; druid, paladins and monks can all provide the stats buff etc. My raid group is missing a mage, but it doesn’t kill our group because the devs went through the process of making it fairly easy for a raid to cover all buffs in some form or the other.

So why then, are we returning to the idea of the class rather than the player?

mythic2

I was around when priests used Mind Control on Razuvious on 25-man. I remember it clearly – and yet I can assure the feeling of being awesome and having a special task isn’t that great as you make it out to be. Why? Because it’s eclipsed by another issue that comes with class specificity.

Let’s take the paladin example. If you have a paladin in the raid who clears the debuff correctly, all is peachy. If you have a mediocre player who isn’t paying attention and is awful about his special task, it ruins it for the entire raid. What does this lead to? Well, Bob the paladin in the raid shows up and consistently has a 50% chance of doing his job right. Recruiting isn’t ever easy, and ideally Bob would do his job. You have a friend who you know is awesome at being reactive and clearing debuffs – and you would swap the two out in a heartbeat if not for one tiny detail – your friend plays a mage, not a paladin. Alas, it cannot be.

This is my memory of class specific abilities being required in fights. So-and-so is in the group because the group desperately needs an [insert class ability], and not because they have the raid awareness of a….well, very good raider. Ideally ofcourse, a team would never have to choose between the two – a player with the right class and the right raiding experience is just perfect. But in reality, raid teams are never perfect. There’s always a range of skillsets between players – recruiting is never an enviable task – and changing class requirements from being preferences of a raider leader to requirements of a particular boss just makes it all the more difficult.

As a sidenote, at the end of the Mind Control thingus on Razuvious, I never once went “Wohooo! I did a super special mind control – look, priests are awesome!” I actually went “Oh thank god this is over – can I go back to healing yet?” Maybe it’s just me.

The World of 10-man Heroic Raids

My final 2 cents on the matter boils down to why I chose 10 man heroic raiding in the first place. Why did I place that on my top requirements when I was looking for a raid team? Because the closeness and tight-knit nature of 10-mans is a far far cry from 25-mans. I have always enjoyed the level of coordination and personal responsibility that 10-mans came with.

Back in Wrath, when they were first introduced, it always seemed to me that 10-mans were in some sense more difficult than the 25-mans – despite the loot difference at the time. If one person died or messed up in 10-man, many times it just meant game over. The impact of a single death in 25-man was not so great. Thus 10-mans had a fairly high requirement in personal responsibility that complemented the close knit nature of working together with 9 other people. It’s an atmosphere I specifically signed up for, and for the last two expansions I didn’t have to give up seeing the hardest content for it.

mythic3

 

Lore asks an interesting question here: Make new friends or bench 5 current members? To me, this is the wrong question. The question here should be why should there be such a choice to begin with? Change is change – whether you’re recruiting new raiders or trying to find a way to tell your good-hearted but not skilled five raiders that they didn’t make the Mythic cut. We can look at this many ways but nothing about this transition seems easy or even pleasant. Why was Mythic not chosen to be a number that is already standard in the current raiding paradigm?

Final Thoughts

All my ramblings come down to this: it is not in question that having a fixed size for raiding is good – it clearly is; having new mechanics in encounters is also good. Ultimately, the question we have to answer is whether getting those is worth the price they’re coming? Is it worth going back to the class specific abilities? Is it worth overhauling current raid teams for it? No, I don’t think so. I think it does more harm than good and is a step back.

I agree that a fixed size and new mechanics would be healthier for the raiding community – at the very least there wouldn’t be this dichotomy. But this is not the path to it.

Hurray, I write again!

Healing Perspectives: Thok

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This is the one fight where the big baddie we fight actually seems both to me – big and bad. If there was one fight I saved my all caps “OH MAH GAWD” moments for, this would be it. Just saying – having a ridiculously huge dinosaur come charging at you is a legit… and I mean legit reason to panic.

Not that I panicked. Not once. Nope. Ok… maybe twice. No, really.

OK FINE HE ATE ME THREE TIMES ALREADY! *ahem*

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Healing Perspectives: General Nazgrim

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General Nazgrim is another of those familiar figures appearing in Siege of Orgrimmar. He was a cool quest-giver and a loyal orc in my book so he gets praises for that. And he is probably the only “honourable” boss in this raid instance. His decision to stick to Garrosh was disappointing but his choice lessens my reluctance to kill him. It was a choice and he chose to follow a tyrant – now he reaps what he sows.

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Healing Perspectives: Fallen Protectors

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I admit that when I did the Golden Lotus dailies way back, I didn’t enjoy them very much simply because of the daily overdose. But I still liked the quest-givers, and I felt sad when I saw that they had become part of the raid. It was pure horror for me when I looked up to see their names and…. recognised them.

Sun Tenderheart, Rook Stonetoe and He Softfoot – rest in peace.

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Healing Perspectives: Immerseus

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This is an interesting start to the new tier for me. Last night was an awesome raid night. We walked into the raid and were done with the first four bosses within an hour. Which is great ofcourse – except now I have four posts to catch  up on! 🙂

The first bad guy we’ll deal with is Immerseus – a watery boss who looks much scarier than he actually is.

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Come Tank for Me!

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Come tank for us and you shall see,
The yummy heals that are yours to be!

Fear not death for my bubbles are strong,
With my epic absorbs, nothing can go wrong!

Taunt the boss, smack the add!
Tank with us and it’ll be rad!

Skip the swaps, and take those stacks
With Pain Supp. and Spirit Shell, I’ve got your back!

My raid team is recruiting a tank! More info at the guild website and recruitment thread.

Disclaimer: Cute gnome is not included with the guild or raid spot.